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Brett Quigley elevates his game to earn Team USA spot

Champions Tour player Brett Quigley was the final addition to the six-member Team USA for the World Champions Cup at The Concession Golf Club.

Brett Quigley earned a spot on Team USA and a chance to face the World's best PGA Champions Tour golfers at The Concession.
Brett Quigley earned a spot on Team USA and a chance to face the World's best PGA Champions Tour golfers at The Concession.
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It was during the Constellation Furyk and Friends tournament in October at Timuquana Country Club in Jacksonville that Brett Quigley allowed himself a moment to dream.

However, he wasn't dreaming about winning the tournament, which he eventually did.

He was thinking about what it would mean to him to represent the USA in a team format.

During the tournament, he saw some of his fellow PGA Tour Champions competitors being fitted for World Champions Cup clothing, which of course, is mostly red, white and blue.

How cool would that be?

In 408 PGA Tour events, despite 18 top five finishes and more than $11 million in winnings, Quigley never won a PGA Tour event in his 14 years. Not surprisingly, considering that fact, he never played in a Ryder Cup or a Presidents Cup.

His shot at representing the USA seemed to be over. The PGA Champions Tour didn't have an international team competition like the Ryder Cup or the Presidents Cup.

Until now.

On Dec. 7, 8 and 10, the first World Champions Cup will be held at The Concession Golf Club in the Lakewood Ranch area. Quigley was the last player added to the six-member Team USA, playing his way onto the lineup by being the highest ranked player not already committed to the team.

With $1,515,911 in earnings, Quigley ranked No. 11 overall. Among Americans, he was No. 4.

His win at the Furyk and Friends tournament sealed his position, and also was accomplished in front of Jim Furyk, who is the Team USA captain.

The Concession will be in the golf spotlight as it hosts the World Champions Cup Dec. 7, 8 and 10.
Photo by Jay Heater

'"During Furyk's event, I was thinking, 'What do I need to do to get fitted "for Team USA clothing," said Quigley, who lives in Jupiter. "I won't say it is a regret (to not play in a Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup), but I do know I missed an opportunity to play on a team like that. I was close in 2006 and 2007, but I never made it."

He isn't taking this opportunity lightly.

"Oh absolutely, to get picked for this team is an absolute honor," said Quigley, who was won twice on PGA Tour Champions. "I am humbled by it, and excited."

Although Quigley has held his own against the legends of the game during PGA Tour Champions events, he said playing on a world stage in team competition is going to be different.

"These (other) guys all have played in these important matches," he said.

Three of his Team USA teammates — Furyk, David Toms and Justin Leonard — have won Majors. Steve Stricker, who never won a Major on the PGA Tour, has won seven PGA Champions Tour Majors, Jerry Kelly, the final player on Team USA, never won a Major on the PGA Tour, but has won two PGA Tour Champions Majors.

"Honestly, seeing my name on a bag with a U.S. flag gives me goosebumps," Quigley said. "I am excited for that, and anxious. I am going to have butterflies on the first tee."

Even though this is the inaugural World Champions Cup event, Quigley said all the players will have butterflies.

"We all feel it at different times," he said. "We still do, which is amazing. But when you have a chance to win, you are alive."

Despite the newness of the event, he said it will be important to both the players and the fans.

"I think it will be special," he said. "The majority of the players have played in Ryder's Cups and Presidents Cups. I know that I, as a golf fan who has watched them play, feel it is neat to see them back at it again.

"It will be interesting to be in the players room, talking about the matches. It is certainly something I look forward to doing."

Quigley said his best memory of a Ryder Cup was in 1999 when captain Ben Crenshaw gave an emotional speech going into the final day with the Americans trailing Europe 10-6. The U.S. railled for a 14 1/2 to 13 1/2 victory. 

"Giving that emotional speech … getting a victory, … I just love the competition," Quigley said.

Although Quigley might be the least known of the 18 players competing at The Concession, he is confident he will hold his own. He has made the cut in 82 of 85 events on the PGA Tour Champions.

Why has he been so consistent?

"Certainly the last few years, I have been playing some good golf," Quigley said. "The strength of my game is my short game, and the last few years has been pretty good. But we all play extremely well, and we all are on it, so I guess it's about what you do when you are not on."

He was asked if he spends much time thinking how close he came to winning on the PGA Tour with 18 top five finishes.

"Looking back on it, would I have liked to have won once, or twice? Sure. But I also feel fortunate I can still play competitive golf at 54. We all have a great appreciation for what we can do at 50. This tour gives us a place to play, and that's a big thing for us."

Quigley was asked if he is a better player at 54 than he was in his prime.

"I'm different," he said. "A little more focused. I enjoy all aspects of it. Am I a better player? I don't know, but I am a better player under pressure. I am a better tournament player. I am better at dealing with all the stuff that goes with it. This is a second chance for me, a second career, and it has given me time to think about what I do well."

With his wife Amy, they bring up a 15-year-old daughter Lucy and a 16-year-old daughter Sage. But he said he has learned to balance golf and family, and he notes that the golf course is only a mile from his Jupiter home for practice. He said his family is very supportive considering his golf demands.

"Amy understands every aspect of it," he said.

His uncle, Dana Quigley, had 11 PGA Tour Champions wins and his best years came in his late 50s so Quigley said that gives him inspiration he can get better.

"I had a good role model with Dana," he said. "Then there is Bernhard Langer (playing in the event with Team Europe) at 66. He is an incredible inspiration to all of us. He is so incredibly determined. It shows you what is possible."

He might not have thought it was possible he would be representing the U.S. on a world stage, but that time has come at The Concession.

It is a tradition in the Ryders Cup and the Presidents Cup that the wives are made to feel like they are part of the team, and that will be the same at the World Champions Cup. He said Amy Quigley has been texting with the other wives about what they are going to do over the weekend, while considering attire for the event.

"It is sort of neat, seeing them do that," he said. "It's all new to us, and we are working our way through it. But I am staying away from fashion and wardrobe."

As long as it's red, white and blue.



Jay Heater

Jay Heater is the managing editor of the East County Observer. Overall, he has been in the business more than 41 years, 26 spent at the Contra Costa Times in the San Francisco Bay area as a sportswriter covering college football and basketball, boxing and horse racing.

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